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CMNS 110 Lecture Notes (Week 10-12)

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Simon Fraser University
CMNS 110
Jean Herbert

Week 10 Making Meanings: Encoding and Decoding Messages Semiotics - Paddy Whannel - many sub-disciplines of semiotics criticisms of semiotics: - too subjective - relies on opinion rather than fact - is more artistic than scientific - is more qualitative than quantitative - overly bound to particular times and places - Roland Barthes: media narratives resemble myths two kinds of signs: - natural sign: signs arising out of nature without intentionality - conventional signs sign = signifier (word, gesture, speech act) + signified (the meaning garnered from the speech act) three types of signs: - symbols (arbitrary meaning) - icons (have some resemblance) - indexes (or indices) Paradigm: - the units meet 2 conditions Syntagm: - combination of paradigm units Connotation - cultural, social, situational meaning of a word denotation - literal meaning, the dictionary definition Encoding and Decoding with Mass Media - dominant/preferred codes - negotiated/corporate codes - oppositional codes Week 11 The art and science of persuasion Persuasion: Cialdini Marxian theory: Pop culture as "product of capitalism" The Frankfurt School Bourdieu: taste and distinction Social experience vs. individual experience social - explains why semiotic shortcuts are useful and attractive individual - explains why they can be dangerous and misleading Fixed action patterns: biological The contrast principle: how we perceive the difference between two things will be affected by the order in which they are presented to us Marx, capitalism, and consumer culture The Karl Marx Ideology: historical materialism - the economy is what drives ideas - our material lives shape our ideas and beliefs - mode of production: "way of producing" Capitalism: economic system where trade and industry are controlled by private industry for profit rather than the state
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